Breaking: Cuadrilla announces it will not appeal against Roseacre Wood shale gas refusal

Roseacre horse

One of the lorry routes to Cuadrilla’s proposed shale gas site at Roseacre Wood. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The fracking company, Cuadrilla, has announced it will not appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a second shale gas site in Lancashire.

Local campaigners said they could “breathe a sigh of relief” that the company would not pursue plans for Roseacre Wood, near Blackpool.

This afternoon’s announcement brings to an end a five-year planning dispute between Cuadrilla and local residents.

Last month, the local government secretary, James Brokenshire, turned down the scheme to drill, frack and test up to four shale gas wells on road safety grounds.

His decision follows opposition to the scheme from all levels of local government in the area since 2014 and two inspectors at planning inquiries in 2016 and 2018.

In a statement, Cuadrilla said it acknowledged the findings of the planning process and decided it would not appeal against the decision.

Laura Hughes, Commercial and Projects Director at Cuadrilla, said:

“We have been pursuing planning permission at Roseacre Wood for some time and it was naturally disappointing to hear it had been refused on traffic grounds by the Government last month.

“We had worked hard on the application and we believed the site provided an excellent opportunity to explore for natural gas in Lancashire. However, we acknowledge the findings of the lengthy review process and will not be appealing against the decision.”

Roseacre Awareness Group, which has opposed the scheme since 2014, said in a statement:

“We are delighted to hear this news. We have been saying for years that the traffic issues, relating to the Roseacre Wood site are insurmountable, a fact recognised by LCC and two independent Planning Inspectors and ultimately by the Secretary of State.

“However we should have never have had to go through this stressful process. We have spent thousands of unpaid man hours, and tens of thousands of pounds, producing evidence to support our case which now all seems worthwhile but it has cost us much stress and anxiety.

“At last we can breathe a sigh of relief and know that our community is safe and no longer under threat from this insidious industry.

“We would like to thank everyone for all their hard work and support including those at Lancashire County Council and all seven town and parish councils, who worked with us.

“We will continue to raise awareness as there are many more communities still under threat most especially our friends at Preston New Road.”

Friends of the Earth said:

“Cuadrilla throwing in the towel at Roseacre is yet another sign that fracking is a dying industry. Fracking can’t be done without triggering earthquakes, it’s not wanted by the public and it’s high time that the government drops it altogether.”


Part of the lorry route to Cuadrilla’s proposed Roseacre Wood site

Cuadrilla said it would focus on work at its Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton, also near Blackpool.

Ms Hughes said:

“We continue operations at Preston New Road where we have had high quality, natural gas back to the surface following hydraulic fracturing between October and November last year. Our first results were encouraging and our central focus remains there.”

Cuadrilla has drilled two wells at Preston New Road and carried out the UK’s first frack of a horizontal shale gas well there in October-December 2018.

But the fracking operation caused 56 earth tremors and only 5% of the well was fracked as planned. The company blamed regulations on induced seismicity, saying they threatened its commercial viability. It has called for a relaxation of the rules.

Earlier this week, one of Cuadrilla’s major investors, the Australian mining group, AJ Lucas, said further fracking and drilling at Preston New Road depended on whether the government reviewed the regulations.

It said a workover was planned on the fracked well to prepare it for further hydraulic fracturing. Cuadrilla has applied to the Environment Agency to change its environmental permit so that it can frack wells more than once.

The planning permission allows Cuadrilla to frack the second Preston New Road well and drill and frack two more. But under current conditions, this work must be completed by the end of November 2019.

The company can apply to Lancashire County Council to extend this deadline. But the council said it had not received an application or had any pre-application discussions. Any application would require a public consultation and was likely to go before the council’s planning committee, a spokesperson said.

Timeline for Roseacre Wood

36 replies »

  1. Hopefully all the good people who have worked together to achieve this outstanding victory can now help, in every way possible, environment protectors in their battle to defeat Cuadrilla at nearby Preston New Road and elsewhere?
    Remember please that Climate Destruction hasn’t been stopped worldwide with this decision, just traffic problems around the lovely Fylde villages around Roseacre.

    • Excellent news, from the recent news about allowing schools having cleaner air from passing traffic and forbidding traffic during school travel times , the park and stride scemes, and stopping school drop off vehicles leaving their engines running, there is now further leeway to continue objections on traffic grounds, all good forward thinking moves to clean up the incursions from multiple fracking delivery HGV’s.

      Someone sounds sour though?

      Funny that?

      • Have a heart for reaction! How will he puff around PNR without his HGV-commonly known as a 3 litre BMW diesel?

        Sweet and sour-yes, I see the connection. But, if someone did a little bit of research I was never a believer in the need for Roseacre. Wrong place, but more importantly, wrong time.

        Besides which, good area to grow all that palm oil to replace the red diesel!

        • Dear me, Martians easily upset isnt he?

          Still reading me Martian. Oops! And after all your promises too.

          As bad as the fossil fuel operators arent you?

          You see how self regulation is just a bad joke isnt it?

          And talking to yourself as well? I would worry about that if i were you….perish the thought….god help me.

          And trying to divert away from the real target of the comment too? Awww….


          Those mirrors are a Wytch aren’t they Martian?

          No Martian, that sourpuss complement is for you old thing, no, no, dont thank me, i do it out of respect and admiration for…..hmmm, there must be something, i just cant put my finger on it at the moment….no, nothing springs to mind i am afraid.

          And all those hundreds of 6 and 8 litre red diesels puffing out toxic carcinogenic particulates that your favourite fracking industry wants to poison the school children with? They should be made to get out and walk to work and carry their toxic detritus themselves as they pass the children shouldn’t they?

          I am sure they would be treated with the utmost respect and regard considering the responsibility they show towards the childrens communities, homes and families and their water, food, air and environment and how respectfully they are treating our only planet too?

          Yes, i am sure that the children and their parents will treat them with the utmost care and respect for doing that wont they?

          Oh, dear, Oh dear, Tut! Tut!


          • I’m sure reaction loves paying his taxes and would never dream of using red diesel!

            “Children” seem to be the new band wagon. Yes, why not. Always room for one more to try and excite the youngsters. Good luck with that. My experience is that they are not as gullible as some would like them to be, but, as with all age groups, there will be a minority.

            By the way, young ladies and gentlemen, the UK fracking “industry” is to do with producing GAS, not to be used to manufacture red diesel. Red diesel will be manufactured from OIL. (Seems some basics are difficult for some, but a good little exercise to learn about agriculture support, taxation of fuel and control of smuggling.) Certain people don’t seem to mind the fact that currently UK is importing large quantities of oil from fracking in the USA whilst they attempt to prevent oil being produced on shore in UK conventionally without using fracking-as has been done for decades without problem. Now, call me old fashioned, but I have always recognised lots of small steps are possible, and add up to bigger steps. Howling at the moon is a nice release but doesn’t achieve anything.

            DYOR younger ladies and gentlemen.

            • Dear me, what a sad sorry display of repeated empty memes Martian? So that is what happens when you are challenged? Total Meltdown.

              Martian, the children…are striking because the fossil fuel industry you “no-cheer lead” for is creating climate change acceleration and is poisoning their environment and stealing their future from them. one minute you insult them and the next you seek to appeal to them, you really do not understand just how pointless and mistaken that is.

              The children and before them many adults such as myself and increasingly more and more have all ready made up their minds that appealing to such as your favoured industry and politicians and corporations and their spooksmen, is equally pointless,

              They are, as others here are doing, changing the future into a more sane evolutionary environment than your favoured industry will ever be able to provide, rather the opposite. And as they have said, and i have said, we will do that whether you lot like it or not.

              The children are hardly likely to listen to the appeals of someone who is complicit and determined to endanger their future for the sole purpose of more profit and personal aggrandisement.

              Attempting to appeal to them is not going to work, the only intelligent way ahead is to dispense with the present reliance on fossil fuel tomfoolery and move ahead into a symbiotic relationship with the Earths natural resources, and that means investigating and investing and researching into renewable forms of energy and resources that will not endanger the planets ecological future, there is no other logical or intelligent way forward.

              Not to do so is simply insanely suicidal and is little more than a death cult.

              Trying to hang on to the old gods of fossil fuel profits and sole resource exploitation at the cost of the entire planets all ready endangered climate, our water, our air, our health, the future ecology for our children and future generations, is simply illogical.

              To hang desperately on to an industry that produces nothing more than profit and more of the same devastation of the planet, that does nothing more than trash the planet and do no more than overfeed a few miserable, miserly falsely wealthy, real wealth is our children and their future, just so that a few greedy selfish individuals can live in luxury while the rest of the world dies of starvation and thirst and destroyed environments, is simply utterly insane.

              You persist in trotting out all these utterly and regularly discredited empty memes at every opportunity as if they actually mean anything at all.

              They dont, it is just empty noise and immoderate self indulgent display. Do you really think that constitutes rational debate at all?

              It does not, such a display just poisons the entire debate into a farcical “i said you said” polarisation and interferes with any sort of rational conversation at all. Sometimes posting on Drill or Drop is like having strayed into the land of stupid, where the suicidal nihilists are naked king and queen.

              I realised that some time ago, so just the other week, and this week i tried two separate strategies to show that up. Last Sunday i ignored anything you anti anti harpies tried to tragically descend the debate into empty rhetoric.

              This week i did the opposite, i just countered your own band wagon meme for meme and insult for insult just to see how far it would descend into irrelevant meaningless irrationality, and it did indeed, so much so in fact, that i really do worry about where all that bitter bile comes from.

              An apparently bottomless pit.

              • Lets have a look at the “contributions” this week that have been excessively trotted out from the dire to the point of worryingly bizarre.

                3 litre BMW diesel (but not all the 6 and 8 litre diesels that pour out toxic particulates on school routes we notice)

                red diesel x 4! (excessive repetition and of course we al know that is utterly discredited and refuted)

                “children” (a new meme apparently, watch this space)

                My experience (a popular one)

                gullible (another popular one)

                minority (a golden oldie)

                Howling at the moon (another golden oldie)

                DYOR (done to death, but never actually reciprocated)

                So once we dispense with all these empty memes what do we have left?

                I consider all these personal diatribes and silly memes and self aggrandisements to be a waste of time and space on Drill or Drop and is an insult and a degradation of Drill or Drop and the detracts from importance of the subject of:


                So i will return to simply stating my case as it needs to be said and totally ignoring all other anti anti comments, and we will see where that goes shall we.

                Have a good weekend

                • Quite right too. Perhaps the next new “idea” will be to be accurate. Now that could navigate a long way through the fog. Not holding my breath. RT methodology seems too ingrained.

                  DYOR. Spoken with anyone to help out regarding the red diesel?

    • Cuadrilla doesn’t appeal because they have no money to operate another site. The PNR result maybe not impressive enough for more investment.

  2. It was never going to be appealed. They only wanted one site. Lancashire County Council should have approved PNR as recommended and refused Roseacre. This would have resulted in no appeal(s). But extensive lobbying by the antis forced the Council and anti groups to waste a lot of time and money.

    • Paul Tresto … Roseacre was refused unanimously by LCC. It was Cuadrilla who decided to appeal and waste everyone’s time and money mostly their own I am glad to say. They have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds (probably a lot more) trying to shoe horn Roseacre in. Pity they did not listen.

      • Barbara – sorry you don’t understand what happened having spent so much of your time on this. If our County Council Planning Committee had approved PNR and refused Roseacre there would not have been any appeal by Cuadrilla. This is fact. I fail to understand why you cannot see this. The only reason the Roseacre saga was prolonged further was the fault of the Government when a second chance on the traffic issue was offered by the SOS.

      • The shale gas industry can only survive by continuous drilling of new sites. The depletion curves confirm this. You don’t just develop 1 site. Roseacre was part of the NW-SE orientation plan of numerous sites with strategic links. Roseacre was a key to the layout of the expansion and a necessity to prove access to small rural areas. That has now failed. An appeal would be futile as the Government is backing off from it’s original support for the industry.
        If you can’t spread your wings……You can’t fly.

        • Easy to see why the industry has to try to show that Roseacre was not necessary. Investors will be asking serious questions.

          • Exactly John, we had the same sort of investor/ industry spin about Leith Hill after they were kicked off it, how it was all to be expected, they didn’t want to drill there anyway, it’s a much loved AONB after all.

            When the usual suspects start on about China, you know it’s a diversion from the fact that the article is about yet another expensive failure.

            AJ Lucas down 13%

            • Think you will find, like Leith Hill, Dorkinian, these companies gain further information over time (known as testing, for a good reason) and their reserve positions are modified.

              Has Leith Hill reduced activity in the Weald? Err, no.

              PNR indicated to possibly include 15 wells now.

              When the usual subjects start on about one abandoned site, whilst many others being added to the mix, you know it is a diversion from the facts.

        • Still wrong John. One site was needed for the first phase to test the horizontal concept. Failed from a commerciality standpoint due to the TLS. Thoughts of expansion are way down the line. You need to be on the inside – which you clearly are not….

          My understanding of planning was that an appeal of a refused appeal was not possible; a JR would be the only recourse but looks like I am wrong. This sets an unusual precedent.

          • ‘Thoughts of expansion are way down the line’….. Wrong yet again.

            The Becconsall site. springs to mind.

            Millions were spent on drilling Becconsall and bringing in Micro Seismic inc to place 100 plus buried seismic monitors.

            The very same day REAF gave evidence on the functional link between the site and the protected river Ribble RAMSAR site, Cuadrilla withdrew their fracking application.

            ‘Thoughts of expansion’, absolutely. Ability to expand, none.

            Roseacre and Becconsall. Huge financial and strategic failures.

  3. The industry cant survive on one site PNR which is also running out of time. Cuadrilla doesn’t want to break the real deal to public because they want to keep the story going to justify the investment.
    The government doesn’t support shale any longer, the flow rate is not impressive to justify it. This is probably just the beginning of the company exit strategy to save face and milk as much as investment as possible.

  4. Congratulations to all those who fought so hard in opposing Cuadrilla’s attempts to frack at Roseacre. A fantastic victory. Now you can concentrate on PNR and hopefully get Cuadrilla to f….k out of Lancashire and anywhere else altogether.

    • Kali – what a fantastic victory you have had – having achieved such a great victory maybe you could give us your great vision for how the people of Lancashire are going to get their energy.

      I really hope that you surprise me by giving a solution but I’m pretty much certain you’ll just repeat the same nonsensical arguments. You won’t believe how much I’d like to be proved wrong.

  5. Nice letter in the Times today from Francis. Given up on the falling melons, now hopping MPs, with the tremors!

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